“This palace is so stunning.” Jodha said in a low voice.
“Maham Anga ji wants to meet you Mallika,” another maid came hurriedly to inform Jodha.
Jodha bent her head down so as to show respect to Maham Anga who is the foster mother of Akbar.
“Namaste Maham Anga ji,” Jodha greeted Maham Anga.
“Namaste! What kind of greeting is it? When you are in this palace you have to follow the ways here! You got to greet every one with salaam!” said Maham Anga in an authoritative tone.
All the maids bent their heads down as they feared the glare of Maham Anga. All of a sudden there was a pin drop silence. Only distance cooing of a koel could be heard.
Jodha mustered the courage and replied to Maham Anga.
” From where I come we were taught to greet others with Namaste Maham Anga ji. I am sure both Salaam and Namaste mean the same but I will try to greet every one with a Salaam from next time!”
Maham Anga was furious. No one has the guts to confront her in the whole palace including Akbar.
“How dare you question me ? No one ever questions elders here. Is that what you are taught at your place?” fumed Maham Anga.
Jodha was shell shocked by her furious response. She tried to explain that she was just letting her know that Namaste is also a greeting but by the time Jodha spoke Maham Anga walked out of the room.
“The first day at palace did not go well at all,” thought Jodha.
She wanted to discuss this with Akbar but thought otherwise. How can she go to the emperor and ask him to resolve her petty problems?
The next day Jodha got up early , offered her prayers to Lord Krishna and went to the royal kitchen to plan something different that day. The cooks were surprised to see Jodha in the kitchen.
“Today I want you all to cook whatever Maham Anga likes.” Jodha ordered the cooks.
All the cooks exchanged glances on hearing the weird request. Jodha repeated what she said and no questions were asked and the menu was ready in no time. Kaddu ka Kheer and Sevayya were among them which Maham Anga relished a lot.
Jodha poured the hot Kaddu ka Kheer in a bowl and took it to Maham Anga’s room.
Maham Anga was stunned to see her.
“Why did you come here? ” She questioned.
“Namaste. I mean Salaam-a-lekum Maham Anga ji. I thought I would come and greet you as we did not exchange pleasantries properly yesterday.” replied Jodha.
“Please have this kheer as a token of my respect. I ordered it in the kitchen specially for you. Having a sweet dish on a happy occasion is a ritual anywhere I guess!” continued Jodha.
Maham Anga first hesitated but later took the bowl from Jodha’s hands. She tasted a spoonful of kheer and was impressed.
“But how did you know that I like kheer?” asked Maham Anga who was clearly puzzled.
“I came to live here Maham Anga ji. I believe in showing respect and love by my gestures rather than by mere words. I would be happy to see that every one is happy here due to me.” replied Jodha.
Maham Anga was perplexed by Jodha’s words. She was surprised by her wisdom even if Jodha is just half her age.
Maham Anga muttered a thanks and Jodha left the room only after bending and acknowledging her thanks.
|Aishwarya Rai as the beautiful Jodha. Image source :“here”|
This is purely a piece of fiction written by tweaking a scene from “Jodha Akbar” movie 🙂 The message of the story is that the language used to greet people is not important. What is more important is the feeling and the gesture. When the feelings can be understood no language is an obstacle to greet each other !